Good action deserves recognition.

And we would like to acknowledge Kaiser Permanente for deciding it will no longer buy furniture treated with flame retardants.

This is a big decision – albeit a right one. And we hope other businesses would follow the example set by this health system company.

Kaiser Permanente’s new furniture standard specifies that upholstered furniture in new or remodeled buildings should not contain added fire retardant chemicals. Kaiser Permanente spends roughly $30 million a year to furnish its hospitals, medical offices and other buildings with chairs, benches, sofas and other furniture.

Chemicals used as flame retardants have been linked to cancer and other health illnesses.

The IAFF has been on the forefront of this issue raising awareness as fire fighters keep getting diagnosed with cancer at alarming rates.

The IAFF believes there is a need for modern fire safety that is toxic free and does not expose our members to the carcinogens that are contributing to the high rates of cancers in the fire service.

Chemical manufacturers will learn this issue will not go away and the IAFF will continue to speak out against the practice of using flame retardants in products that seriously impact the health of fire fighters and the public that we serve.

While legislation banning dangerous chemicals is stalled in Congress, private sector actions like this may provide the best opportunity for ending the use of toxic flame retardants.